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City of Knoxville amends mask rules to require them for everyone in city buildings again

All city employees and visitors will be required to have a mask on in most indoor settings inside city-operated buildings, regardless of vaccination status.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The city of Knoxville is requiring everyone to mask up again if they enter a city building, regardless of if they have been vaccinated for COVID-19.

Kristin Farley, director of Knoxville communications, said the city is following recent guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Spanish Version: Ciudad de Knoxville modifica regla sobre uso de mascarillas 

Effectively immediately, all city employees and visitors will be required to have a mask on in most indoor settings at city-operated buildings, regardless of vaccination status

"We thank you for your cooperation and encourage everyone to get vaccinated,” she said.

The change comes amid a recent rise in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations over the past two weeks -- a 204% increase in Tennessee alone -- driven by a surge of cases involving the highly infectious Delta variant.

The simplest way to halt the latest surge across Tennessee is to get a vaccine, Tennessee Department of Health commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey told reporters Monday. Most people -- 93% -- who are getting sick have never had the vaccine, she said.

"Vaccinations are the single greatest tool we have to prevent COVID-19 in ourselves and in our communities," Piercey said.